Test characteristics of a level I or II fetal ultrasound in detecting structural heart disease

M. Skeels, D. Taylor, Jeanny K Park, Mark D Parrish, Michael Choy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


At the University of California Davis Medical Center, a screening fetal ultrasound examination (level I or II) incorporates a comprehensive segmental evaluation of the fetal heart. This study evaluated the reliability of the fetal ultrasound exam in the detection of abnormal heart anatomy. Our retrospective study reviewed results of 614 antenatal patients that had a screening fetal ultrasound exam. All patients subsequently underwent a detailed targeted fetal cardiac ultrasound exam performed by a pediatric cardiac sonographer and reviewed by a board-certified pediatric cardiologist. Of these 614 patients, 60 fetuses had structural heart disease by the targeted fetal exam. The screening fetal ultrasound exam correctly identified 55 of the 60, with 5 false negatives (8.3% false-negative rate) and 1 false positive (1.7% false-positive rate), Our study suggests that if a screening fetal ultrasound exam incorporates a segmental evaluation of the fetal heart it can reliably detect abnormal heart anatomy. At our institution a targeted fetal cardiac exam is now used to confirm and provide detailed assessment of the heart anatomy when a screening fetal exam is positive for heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-597
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric Cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2002


  • Fetal echocardiogram
  • Fetal heart disease
  • Fetal ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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